Character of the Week: Cowboy Names

I haven’t been asked to name many characters for Westerns, but when I had the chance to coming up with cowboy names was a fun challenge.

Male, born in the early 1860s in West or Midwest America
His parents were settlers headed west on the Oregon Trail when he was born. They were plain people who had few connections back east. They both died early in his life.
Annie will be his love interest, and he also will interact with Daisy.
He falls in with a group of bandits to support himself. He’s a bit of a rogue, but deep down he wants to do the right thing. He and Annie don’t hit it off right away because he’s a bit abrasive.

Although John, William, and James were—by far—the most popular names for boys when this character was born, none of them would be the best or most interesting choice for him. People in the West and Midwest often chose less popular names for their children. They were, after all, people who were adventurous. The names they chose could be from popular culture, liturature (mostly the bible), nature, and family surnames.

  • Crockett
  • Buck
  • Hollis
  • Abel
  • Zeb

The writer replied: Oh, I really like Hollis! And I never would have thought of it myself. This is a really cool thing you’re doing, and you seem to have a knack for it!

Cowboy names are a fun subset. They are tough and quirky, and they can add a lot of color to a Western.


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